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Capriles: We will take Venezuela’s main districts

Opposition leader Henrique Capriles delivers a speech during a protest against Venezuela''s President Nicolás Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela, on November 23

Opposition leader urges country to vote on Sunday’s local elections as campaigns close

CARACAS — Venezuelan political leader Henrique Capriles said the opposition expects to win the country’s most important districts in municipal elections on Sunday.

Capriles, who narrowly lost the election against President Nicolás Maduro in April, has been personally involved in the opposition candidates’ campaigns all over the country. Yesterday, he urged his supporters in the western Falcón region to cast their vote on Sunday “because in that way we will win many of the disctricts” available.

“We hope that our unity translates into a majority of votes at a national level and that we also win the most important districts in the country,” he highlighted.

On Sunday, Venezuelans will vote for 335 mayors and 2,400 local councillors. The most important districts up for grabs are: the Li-bertador mayorship in Caracas, the metropolitan mayorship also in Caracas, Maracaibo, Valencia and Puerto La Cruz. More than 19 million electors are registered to vote.

Ruling-party Mayor Jorge Rodríguez is seeking his re-election in Libertador, while opposition Mayor Antonio Ledezma will try to retain the Caracas metropolitan district.

The opposition has presented Sunday’s vote as a referendum on Maduro. The president has been struggling with inflation and food shortages since he took office but has managed to pull his approval rating up in recent weeks with an “economic war” that has set price controls and profit limits that have benefited consumers.

Candidates to Sunday’s elections closed their campaigns yesterday with calls for Venezuelans to cast their votes.

“We don’t have an option, we have to win for (Hugo) Chávez,” the president of Congress, Diosdado Cabello, said yesterday at a rally in San Felipe, in the state of Yaracuy.

Maduro also remembered former president Chávez on Twitter and promised his mentor a good performance at Sunday’s election. “The people are preparing to give you a new victory,” the president wrote.

The president of the National Electoral Council, Tibisay Lucena, said yesterday that while everything is set in place for the election to function “perfectly well”, she can’t deny the possibility “of some isolated attempts to create violence.” Voting generally takes place calmly in Venezuela but at least nine people were killed in different incidents after April’s presidential elections.

— Herald with Télam, AP

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